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Useful information for excursions in Miami
In the following, you will find information about the cruise port, the most beautiful sights and a lot of useful tips for shore excursions in and around Miami.
The most beautiful sights in and around Miami
Miami is located in the south of the “Sunshine State” Florida on the east coast of the USA. The nickname of the state is also in Miami program: Year-round warm temperatures with an average of 7 hours of sunshine per day make Miami a popular travel destination. However, one should not confuse Miami and Miami Beach. The two cities are located right next to each other, but most vacationers often stay in Miami Beach and not in Miami itself, because here you can find the famous long white sandy beaches and busy nightlife. Miami itself also has a lot to offer. While downtown Miami is characterized by numerous skyscrapers and forms the commercial centre of the city, you can be enchanted by colourful and unusual street art in the Wynwood district. You can experience a touch of the Caribbean in the two neighbourhoods Little Havana and Little Haiti, which are clearly marked by Latin American influences. Dive into the different districts during your stay in Miami, be fascinated by the diverse culture and experience the city up close during your shore excursion.
When the numerous vacationers in Miami talk about dreamlike endlessly long and white beaches, they usually talk about Miami Beach. The city is located on an island in the east of Miami and is connected to the mainland by four bridges. Miami Beach is also known for a distinctive nightlife, besides the beaches. In numerous bars, restaurants and clubs you can relax in the evening or celebrate extensively. In contrast to this, Miami Beach also offers numerous possibilities for sports activities. On the beach as well as in the various city parks, the offer ranges from volleyball, basketball, golf and swimming to baseball, football, softball and fitness. This mix of beach, nightlife and sports is also a popular backdrop for numerous Hollywood movies and series. Scenes from Miami Vice, Scarface and Fast & Furious were shot here.
The district South Beach forms the southern part of Miami Beach and is often called “SoBe” or “The Beach”. The district is considered one of the most popular “hotspots” of Miami and its surroundings. From crystal clear blue water and miles of white sandy beach that invites you to relax, to luxurious houses and apartments and an unusual lifestyle, you can find everything your heart desires. While the Art Deco Quarter offers numerous restaurants, cafés and shopping facilities, you can do sports on the beach and in the various city parks. Especially Lummus Park, which is located directly on Ocean Drive, is known for its open-air fitness equipment.
The Art Deco Quarter is one of the main attractions in South Beach. There are over 960 historic buildings in the neighbourhood, all built in the 30s and 40s. Nowhere else are there such a large number of connected buildings of this style. Many of the historic buildings in the neighbourhood are now used as hotels. In addition to its special architecture, the district is also known for its numerous shopping facilities, but there are also a large number of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Especially on Washington Avenue you will find many well-known nightclubs and bars.
In the centre of the Art Deco Quarter runs the famous Ocean Drive. It is about 10 blocks long and is located directly on the beach. The Ocean Drive is not only the central place for an exuberant nightlife, but there is also a lot going on during the day. Take a relaxed stroll along the promenade and marvel at the skills of the street artists. You can also watch the hustle and bustle from the numerous cosy cafes or hip music bars: Cyclists, inline skaters, joggers, pedestrians or people in expensive cars turn Ocean Drive into Miami’s “place to be”. It is easy to see that it is essentially about seeing and being seen. It is not for nothing that South Beach and Ocean Drive are often called the Hollywood of Florida. With a little luck, you might even discover a celebrity.
Some time ago, downtown Miami was mainly known as the financial district of the city and therefore not very interesting for many tourists. But today the quarter is more and more in a state of change. Beside hip bars and restaurants, you will find the famous Bayfront Park, which is located directly at the waterfront and invites you to relax. In regular intervals, the park additionally becomes a stage for numerous concerts. Not far away is the shopping centre “Bayside Marketplace”, which, as the name already suggests, is also located directly on the shore of the Biscayne Bay. The shopping centre offers shoppers more than 100 shops with a wide variety of goods. Cafés and various restaurants invite you to eat and relax. The Hard Rock Café, popular with collectors, is also located here. Due to its central location, the shopping centre is also the starting point for many city tours and boat trips.
Experience multicultural Miami to the full and visit the famous Little Havana district. Here you will find many Latin American cafés, restaurants, cigar shops and markets. The colourful “Calle Ocho“, is the most famous street in Little Havana. A special highlight of this neighbourhood is Domino Park. Here you can watch Cuban veterans from Little Havana play nerve-racking dominoes every day. In Little Havana, Cuban culture is lived out to such an extent that during an excursion here you will feel as if you had made a short detour to Cuba.
Wynwood Art District
The Wynwood Art District is not only a great place to visit for art lovers but is also worth a visit without a special interest in art. While a few years ago the district was known for a high crime rate, today the district shines in splendid colours. In 2003, a group of artists, art dealers and curators joined forces and founded the Art District. The model for this was a similar project in Cape Town. In total, the Wynwood Art District has over seventy galleries, twelve studios, seven art complexes and five museums. In addition, one can discover huge paintings and artwork everywhere in the entire district, which often extend over the entire facade of the buildings. Amidst factory buildings and warehouses, the creative scene here has exploded in recent years. Yet the quarter is in constant change. New artwork and graffiti by well-known artists are regularly added to the collection, which means that there are always new surprises waiting for you, even if you visit several times. In addition to the works of art, you will also find exceptional cafés and restaurants where you can spend a few relaxing hours.
Everglades National Park
The Everglades National Park is located about 60 minutes by car from Miami and offers you an incomparable flora and fauna. Besides numerous bird species, turtles, alligators and crocodiles, there are still many other animals to be discovered here. The wetland, which extends over 6,000 km², was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979 as a Biosphere Reserve. Although the Everglades are often called a swamp, it is actually a prairie, which is almost completely flooded in summer by a slow-flowing river only a few centimetres deep and dries up in winter. But there are also numerous pools and ponds in the national park that never completely dry out in the dry season. The water surface is almost completely covered with seaweed. In the proximity of the coast, there are also mangrove forests at the edge of the Everglades.
There are a variety of ways to explore the Everglades National Park. A popular option is the propeller boat, which offers you the opportunity to explore the wetland without disturbing the flora and fauna. There is also the possibility to walk or cycle through some of the areas via various plank paths. In addition, you can also go by canoe or kayak together with an experienced guide through the extensive and dense waterways of the national park and get up close to the animals. However, it is better not to put your hand in the water, because with a little luck you will discover alligators – pure adrenalin!
Map of the Cruise Port in Miami
The huge cruise port of Miami can accommodate up to seven cruise ships at a time. Since many cruises start or end in Miami, many passengers extend their stay in the city and stay a few days longer or arrive a few days earlier. The cruise port is located southwest of Miami Beach and is located on Dodge Island, which is an artificially created island. The cruise port consists of seven terminals in total. In a total of three parking garages, there is enough space for the cruise guests arriving by car. In the terminal buildings, you will find a duty-free area and numerous providers to rent a car.
Useful Facts for Shore Excursions in Miami
Operators and routes
Miami is not only the most important cruise port in North America but also one of the most important cruise ports in the world, which is why Miami is also called the cruise capital of the world. Every day up to 15,ooo passengers board a cruise ship here. Miami is also the home port of various cruise lines. Miami is often the starting or final port for many Caribbean cruises. In addition, many shipping companies sail from here to Mexico, to South America or through the Panama Canal. But also many transatlantic cruises have a stop in Miami.
Numerous shipping companies call at Miami, including AIDA Cruises, TUI Cruises, MSC and Norwegian Cruise Line. Miami is also homeport for Carnival Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.
Entry and visa
You need a valid passport in combination with a visa or an electronic entry permit (ESTA) to enter America. If you only have a temporary passport, it will not be sufficient only in combination with the ESTA, in this case, a visa is required. In addition, your passport must be valid until the end of your trip, including the day of departure.
It is also advisable to obtain additional information from your cruise line about the valid entry requirements for your cruise.
The currency in Bar Harbor is the US Dollar ($). In the USA credit cards are very common and are accepted almost everywhere as a means of payment. You can also use your credit card to easily withdraw cash from an ATM or exchange money for a fee at an exchange office.
Taxi and public transport
Miami offers numerous possibilities to explore the city by public transportation at a low cost. Depending on where you want to go on your own, you can choose between the Metrorail, the Metromover and the Metrobus. While the Metromover mainly operates within downtown Miami and is free of charge, the Metrorail and Metrobus offer rides to Palm Beach, Key Biscayne, Fort Lauderdale or the Florida Keys. Ticket prices usually start at $2.25.
In addition, so-called Miami Trolleys operate in Miami and Miami Beach on four different lines. The Miami Trolleys are free of charge and run all day every 15 minutes to the stops on your route. From the cruise port, several buses and the Miami Trolley travel on the Coral Way route to Miami Downtown, where you can change to other public transportation.
Alternatively, you can also use taxis to get around the city. You can find them either directly at the cruise terminal or at taxi stands, near larger hotels or the shopping centres. The taxis all drive to taximeters and you can usually pay by credit card without any problems. The trip from the cruise terminal to the shopping centre “Bayside Marketplace” costs about $10.
In addition to traditional taxis, there are also numerous cheaper taxi service apps widely available in the USA. These offer the advantage that they are often more customer-friendly and transparent. Thus, you can order your driver directly to your location via the app and know in advance how long the ride will take and how expensive it will be. The best-known taxi service apps in the USA are Uber and Lyft.
Miami is known as a very bicycle-friendly city. Throughout the city, there are numerous bike lanes so that cyclists can get from A to B safely. In total, there are over 300 solar-powered bike rental stations where you can rent a bike around the clock. One hour costs about $6, but the price for the ride can vary depending on the provider.
Florida is also called the “Sunshine State” and not for nothing: The sun shines all year round and the temperatures are warm. The best time to travel to Miami is from April to July. During these months the sun shines the longest with an average of ten hours per day and the water temperature is a pleasant 25-30 degrees Celsius. However, the rainy season is from May to October. Miami is vulnerable to hurricanes all year round, but especially during the Atlantic hurricane season from August to October.
The European cruise lines usually call at Miami from October to November and sometimes even in April. The international cruise lines, however, sail to Miami all year round.
Port authority and tourism organization website
Impressions of MiamiVideo:
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